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Latest News in Mendham Borough, NJ

3 Takeaways From Mendham Township's Board Of Education Forum

The candidates discussed taxes, curriculum, policy-making and more at the forum last week.MENDHAM, NJ — Candidates for Mendham Township Board of Education seats face off in a debate hosted by The League of Women Voters last week in the media center of the township's Elementary School.At the end of this year, three three-year terms on the seven-member board will be available. Incumbents Rochelle Abraham, Andrew Christmann and Joan Mody are among the candidates, as is former township Mayor and Committeewoman Diana Orban B...

The candidates discussed taxes, curriculum, policy-making and more at the forum last week.

MENDHAM, NJ — Candidates for Mendham Township Board of Education seats face off in a debate hosted by The League of Women Voters last week in the media center of the township's Elementary School.

At the end of this year, three three-year terms on the seven-member board will be available. Incumbents Rochelle Abraham, Andrew Christmann and Joan Mody are among the candidates, as is former township Mayor and Committeewoman Diana Orban Brown.

Abraham, Mody and Christmann are running as a group, with Brown challenging them and running under the slogan "Transparency for Taxpayers."

The hour-long debate drew all four candidates, who answered questions submitted both in advance and on index cards written by members of the public.

During the forum, there was no audience participation allowed, but all questions posed to the candidates were generated by members of the public and screened by the League to eliminate duplicates and personal attacks.

Each candidate had 90 seconds for opening statements, 60 seconds for answering questions, 30 seconds for rebuttals and 90 seconds for closing statements.

Curriculum:

When asked about the highly debated state's sex education curriculum, all candidates agreed that parents were still able to maintain control and have the right to opt their children out of classes. Mody stated she thought that the lessons were age-appropriate and chosen by professionals.

Christmann agreed and highlighted that the curriculum has gone through a "rigorous process" to be approved before being presented to the public.

Brown agreed, noting that the current curriculum was similar to one from 2014, which was still available on the district's website. Brown also stated that, regardless of their stance, it is critical to hear and consider the concerns of parents, which was a sentiment agreed upon by all candidates.

Abraham praised the curriculum for emphasizing social and emotional learning standards, which she believes are intended to ensure student safety, such as how to identify bullying and how to care for oneself.

District Merger:

When asked if there was a possibility of a K-12 merger with the Chesters, Christmann said it was discussed a few years ago, but that while there could be significant benefits from being a larger district, there were concerns about the value of educational costs.

Abraham said the idea of a merger could be something worth exploring but they would need to consider how it would benefit the students.

Mody also agreed that it is something to consider and the board has considered a merger in the past, but that they would need to see what sort of benefits a merger would bring to the community.

Brown stated that she is in full support of a merger and believes that it would provide many benefits to the community.

Taxes:

Candidates were asked to consider ways to make school taxes more efficient, as they account for roughly 66 percent of the total property tax bill.

Mody defended the board, highlighting the district's various shared services which bring in revenue, particularly the district's busing contracts with other districts.

Brown agreed, calling school taxes "an investment," since the bulk of it goes toward tuition. Brown also claimed that while the busing was good, residents needed to see the profits, not just the revenues. "We have never seen an analysis of how much actually goes toward profits," Brown said.

Christmann stated that the board spends a significant amount of time attempting to reduce costs and reduce the burden on the taxpayer. According to Christmann, the best way to achieve that is through shared services.

Abraham agreed, saying that fiscal responsibility is crucial to the board. "Managing a budget to balance the needs of the students while being considerate of the taxpayer is essential," Abraham said.

When asked about taxpayers who do not have children in the K-8 district, all candidates agreed that, while a sizable proportion of township households do not have children in the district and are seniors living in town, the majority of those households approve of how the district is run.

The debate was live-streamed on YouTube and has been posted to the Morristown Area League of Women Voters YouTube page. To view the entire debate, click here.

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LETTER: Vote Abraham, Christmann, Mody for Mendham Township Board of Ed

TO THE EDITOR: I am a 20-year Mendham Township resident, a proud product of Mendham public schools, and a current junior in college.I am writing because I strongly support incumbents Joan Mody, Andrew Christmann, and Rochelle Abraham for the Mendham Township Board of Education.As a graduate of both Mendham Township Elementary School and Mendham Township Middle School, I can attest firsthand to the successful management that the school district has had under the current board.Mendham Township schools do an unrivaled job o...

TO THE EDITOR: I am a 20-year Mendham Township resident, a proud product of Mendham public schools, and a current junior in college.

I am writing because I strongly support incumbents Joan Mody, Andrew Christmann, and Rochelle Abraham for the Mendham Township Board of Education.

As a graduate of both Mendham Township Elementary School and Mendham Township Middle School, I can attest firsthand to the successful management that the school district has had under the current board.

Mendham Township schools do an unrivaled job of preparing students for their academic futures. The district ensures that students are equipped with a strong foundation in essential subjects, math, science, reading, and writing; which give students the tools to become critical thinkers. The schools encourage students to become responsible global citizens, with social studies and world languages. Students are taught the skills that they need to thrive in high school, college, careers, and beyond. I can say confidently that my experience attending Mendham Township schools played an integral role in my success in high school and college.

The success of the school district and its students is directly attributable to the leadership of the Board of Education. I was a student at Mendham Township Middle School when it received the prestigious Blue Ribbon Award from the federal Department of Education. Andrew Christmann was the president of the board at the time, and he has continued this award-winning leadership along with Joan Mody and Rochelle Abraham on the current board.

The candidate running against the incumbents is uniquely unqualified to serve on the Board of Education. While on the Township Committee, Diana Orban Brown demonstrated a masterclass in poor leadership and ignoring resident input. The hallmark of her former mayoral service was ignoring the will of hundreds of Township residents as she led the unceremonious abolition of the Recreation Commission, the continued neglect of the Ralston Playground, and the attempted ill-conceived overhaul of the Township’s Land Use laws. Do not support her attempted governmental comeback, which would be detrimental to Mendham Township Schools.

I have already returned my mail-in ballot and I encourage fellow residents to return or request their own mail-in ballots, or to vote in person on November 8th. Vote for proven leadership, proven results, and quality education. Vote for Mody, Christmann, and Abraham.

MATTHEW MESSINA

Meet Mendham Township Elementary School's New Assistant Principal

This post was contributed by a community member. The views expressed here are the author's own.Michal Ferenc shares some insights on education and offers some practical suggestions for connecting with students.Mendham Township, NEW JERSEY (October 6, 2022) – With the 2022-2023 school year well underway, we had an opportunity to speak with the newly appointed Assistant Principal of Mendham Township Elementary School (MTES), Mr. Michal Ferenc, and gather his insights on education and connecting with elementary-aged studen...

This post was contributed by a community member. The views expressed here are the author's own.

Michal Ferenc shares some insights on education and offers some practical suggestions for connecting with students.

Mendham Township, NEW JERSEY (October 6, 2022) – With the 2022-2023 school year well underway, we had an opportunity to speak with the newly appointed Assistant Principal of Mendham Township Elementary School (MTES), Mr. Michal Ferenc, and gather his insights on education and connecting with elementary-aged students.

Members of the community may already know Mr. Ferenc, as he had previously served as Sixth Grade Social Studies Teacher and Technology Integration Specialist at the Middle School in Mendham Township. In both roles, he had the opportunity to work with teachers at all grade levels and subjects at the middle school. Mr. Ferenc was born in Poland and came with his family to the United States when he was five years old. He completed his Master's Degree in Educational Leadership at Montclair State University and acquired his Principal and Supervisor certification in 2017.

Q. Can you provide a brief overview of your philosophy on education and managing student behavior? I believe that every child can learn and that we, as educators, are responsible for providing a well-rounded education with the necessary foundational academic and social/emotional skills to realize their full potential. These skills include the ability to be able to read and process information, explain thoughts and ideas through written and expressive language, and understand mathematical concepts. All of these skills, by being built upon incrementally from early childhood, provide learners with the foundations to pursue any dreams they will have in the future. In addition to these foundational academic skills, schools also have a responsibility to ensure that students have a strong social and emotional foundation to persevere and overcome the obstacles of life.Sometimes certain obstacles may impede a student’s ability to learn, and it is the duty of the school, in partnership with the parents/guardians, to identify the root-cause of the issue and develop an action plan to help the student find success. Which leads to my belief that early intervention is key to helping students make up any skill deficits impeding their development and putting them back on track with peers. Without interventions, students who struggle as readers in first grade will probably continue to struggle in fourth grade and the gap between these learners and their peers continues to widen. These learners are also perceptive of their struggles which in turn may manifest as issues with motivation, behavior, and/or confidence. Which is why it is so important to take into account the whole story of the child when attempting to help a struggling student get back on track and to remember that what we see on the surface are symptoms of an underlying issue that we need to discover and address.

Q. Can you share a childhood experience/memory that influenced and perhaps shaped your philosophy on education?This leads on from my previous answer that every child deserves to learn to read and write, and a child is not responsible for their circumstances. In my own personal experience as a five-year old coming from a non-English speaking country, this belief resonates strongly with me. My educators were pivotal and essential in providing me with a great education and inspiring my academic career. I moved from Poland at the age of five and was fortunate to have great teachers that were willing to put in extra time and effort to help myself and other children acquire the language and assimilate to the culture. They helped me to succeed academically and to excel as a member of my new community. It is because of their commitment to teaching that I knew and felt that I belonged and had opportunities to succeed! I often think about how different my life would have been had I not had those same teachers. I see that same care and commitment with the teaching force at Mendham Township School District and look forward to continuing to support it. As I said, regardless of any student’s circumstances, everyone deserves the opportunity to learn and to be able to participate successfully as a member of their community.

Q. We live in a fast-evolving environment (pandemic, technology advancements, media communications), can you suggest one or two questions that parents should be asking their children on a regular basis?A great dialogue to have with your children on a regular basis is to discuss what may be the peaks and valleys of their day, and to be ready to also share what may have happened during your own day. Children need to understand that you are also human and not every day may go exactly as you want. Even as an adult, you have your own obstacles. It is a great opportunity to model resilience and grit.Another gentle opener with younger children is to ask them what they think the future will look like. Ask them if there is anything happening in the world that they have heard about that does not make sense to them. As much as we would like to protect our children from some of the events of the world, we cannot always control what they hear from peers. This way they can have a platform to share what they are hearing and provide you with an opportunity to discuss events at an age-appropriate level.

Q. On a lighter note, if you were talking to a student, how would you finish this sentence: "Growing up, I ..."Growing up, I loved to get mail addressed to me. It was great to see something in the mailbox addressed to me. I felt like a grown-up. Now, when I get mail it’s only bills and advertisements! So students, enjoy this time. At school you may use your writing skills to prepare cards and thank you notes for parents, teachers, members of the services, and other community members. Remember your notes are probably their favorite mail that they will receive that day!

Thank you, Mr. Ferenc, for taking the time to share your insights with us. We look forward to catching up with Mr. Nicolas Angrisani, Assistant Principal of Mendham Township Middle School, for an upcoming news article.

The views expressed in this post are the author's own. Want to post on Patch?

More from Mendham-Chester

Boys soccer: Results, links and featured coverage for Tuesday, Oct. 18

TUESDAY, OCT. 18FEATURED COVERAGEGMC Tournament quarterfinal4-St. Joseph (Met.) 1, 5-East Brunswick 0Mercer County Tournament semifinals at Hopewell Valley3-Pennington 1, 2-Hun 01-Notre Dame 3, 4-Robbinsville 1COUNTY TOURNAMENT SCOREBOARDTOP 20 SCOREBOARDSTATEWIDE SCOREBOARDTuesday, Oct. 18St. Joseph (Met.) 1, East Brunswick 0 - ...

TUESDAY, OCT. 18

FEATURED COVERAGE

GMC Tournament quarterfinal

4-St. Joseph (Met.) 1, 5-East Brunswick 0

Mercer County Tournament semifinals at Hopewell Valley

3-Pennington 1, 2-Hun 0

1-Notre Dame 3, 4-Robbinsville 1

COUNTY TOURNAMENT SCOREBOARD

TOP 20 SCOREBOARD

STATEWIDE SCOREBOARD

Tuesday, Oct. 18

St. Joseph (Met.) 1, East Brunswick 0 - Box Score

New Brunswick 1, Piscataway 0 - Box Score

Monroe 2, South Plainfield 1 - Box Score

Newton 1 (4), North Hunterdon 1 (1) - Box Score

Pennington 1, Hun 0 - Box Score

Notre Dame 3, Robbinsville 1 - Box Score

BCSL

Northern Burlington 2, Moorestown 0 - Box Score

Pennsauken Tech 7, Medford Tech 4 - Box Score

BIG NORTH

Pascack Hills 1, River Dell 0 - Box Score

Fair Lawn 3, Passaic Valley 1 - Box Score

Wayne Hills 3, West Milford 0 - Box Score

Cliffside Park 2, Dwight-Morrow 0 - Box Score

Clifton 7, Paterson Eastside 0 - Box Score

Passaic Tech 3, Paterson Kennedy 2 - Box Score

Northern Highlands 2, Hackensack 0 - Box Score

Bergen Catholic 8, DePaul 1 - Box Score

St. Joseph (Mont.) 5, Paramus Catholic 2 - Box Score

CAPE-ATLANTIC

Pleasantville 3, Mainland 1 - Box Score

Cedar Creek 4, Atlantic Tech 1 - Box Score

Point Pleasant Boro 3, Middle Township 2 - Box Score

COLONIAL

Haddon Heights 3, Collingswood 2 - Box Score

Audubon 2, Gateway 0 - Box Score

CVC

Toms River North 2, Allentown 1 - Box Score

GMC

Rutgers Prep 4, Piscataway Tech 1 - Box Score

North Brunswick 5, Woodbridge 2 - Box Score

HCIAL

Elizabeth 3, Union City 0 - Box Score

NJAC

Lenape Valley 1, Morris Tech 0 - Box Score

Madison 2, Parsippany Hills 0 - Box Score

Whippany Park 4, Morristown-Beard 3 - Box Score

Caldwell 3, Dover 0 - Box Score

Hanover Park 4, Plainfield 1 - Box Score

Kinnelon 2, Parsippany 1 - Box Score

Kittatinny 2, Hopatcong 1 - Box Score

Roxbury 3, Lawrence 2 - Box Score

Jefferson 2, North Warren 1 - Box Score

Mountain Lakes 4, Pequannock 2 - Box Score

NJIC

Glen Rock 7, Hawthorne Christian 0 - Box Score

OLYMPIC

Northern Burlington 2, Moorestown 0 - Box Score

Pennsauken Tech 7, Medford Tech 4 - Box Score

SEC

Franklin 1, Barringer 0 - Box Score

Caldwell 3, Dover 0 - Box Score

SHORE

Toms River East 6, Point Pleasant Beach 0 - Box Score

Matawan 5, Red Bank Catholic 2 - Box Score

St. Benedict's 6, Ocean Township 0 - Box Score

Toms River North 2, Allentown 1 - Box Score

Asbury Park 2, Keyport 2 - Box Score

Central Regional 0, St. Rose 0 - Box Score

Donovan Catholic 4, Henry Hudson 3 - Box Score

Freehold Borough 3, Red Bank Regional 0 - Box Score

Southern 1, Freehold Township 0 - Box Score

Jackson Liberty 2, Brick Memorial 0 - Box Score

Point Pleasant Boro 3, Middle Township 2 - Box Score

Toms River South 2, Lacey 1 - Box Score

SKYLAND

Franklin 1, Barringer 0 - Box Score

Rutgers Prep 4, Piscataway Tech 1 - Box Score

South Hunterdon 8, STEMCivics 0 - Box Score

TRI-COUNTY

Vineland 6, Triton 0 - Box Score

UCC

Brearley 4, Roselle 0 - Box Score

Rahway 2, Johnson 0 - Box Score

Roselle Park 3, Hillside 1 - Box Score

Oratory 1, New Providence 0 - Box Score

Hanover Park 4, Plainfield 1 - Box Score

Dayton 1, Union Catholic 0 - Box Score

Gov. Livingston 1, Linden 0 - Box Score

Elizabeth 3, Union City 0 - Box Score

Independent

St. Benedict's 6, Ocean Township 0 - Box Score

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Water Conservation Measures Encouraged For Mendham Residents

Officials say that the rising summer temperatures and a lack of rain have put a strain on the water system.MENDHAM, NJ — Given the drier-than-usual conditions in New Jersey this summer, Mendham Township officials are sharing a message from the NJDEP encouraging New Jersey residents and businesses to conserve water.While these conditions have not yet had a significant impact on statewide or local drinking water supply indicators, persistently hot and dry conditions may have an adverse effect on water supplies.Acco...

Officials say that the rising summer temperatures and a lack of rain have put a strain on the water system.

MENDHAM, NJ — Given the drier-than-usual conditions in New Jersey this summer, Mendham Township officials are sharing a message from the NJDEP encouraging New Jersey residents and businesses to conserve water.

While these conditions have not yet had a significant impact on statewide or local drinking water supply indicators, persistently hot and dry conditions may have an adverse effect on water supplies.

According to the National Weather Service, New Jersey's drought levels are unlikely to improve in the coming weeks and may worsen due to the lack of rain expected.

Residents and businesses in Mendham are being asked to take proactive steps to help moderate their water use in order to ensure adequate supplies throughout the remainder of the summer.

“Now is the time for New Jersey to be especially mindful of water usage and proactively moderate our consumption,” Commissioner of Environmental Protection Shawn M. LaTourette said."If residents and businesses do all they can to reduce water demand, together we can ensure ample supplies in the coming weeks and months."

Last week, the state of New Jersey issued an official drought watch. The drought watch is the first stage of New Jersey's three-stage drought advisory system. This means that if the situation does not improve, the state may be forced to impose water restrictions.

The most recent drought map, released on Thursday, shows that a growing portion of New Jersey is experiencing "severe drought" conditions, with portions of Morris County included.

Because local conditions can change, it is common for individual water systems and municipalities to request that their customers reduce their water use on a regular basis.

Here are some recommended indoor water conservation measures:

A lack of rain and high temperatures due to the lasting heat wave is currently putting additional strain on the water system.

Additional suggestions from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection include:

The US Drought Monitor, which defines drought more broadly than the DEP, currently classifies Morris County as mostly "abnormally dry," with some areas in the "severe drought" range. This means crop growth is halted, planting is postponed, there is a greater risk of fire, and lawns and gardens begin to wilt.

The DEP will continue to closely monitor water supplies and will advise the public, local governments, and water systems as needed, officials said.

"If conditions do not improve, declaration of a drought warning or a drought emergency with mandatory water use restrictions may become necessary. Voluntary conservation measures during a Drought Watch can help to avoid more serious and restrictive drought conditions," Mendham officials said.

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